It’s been long rumoured, but now it seems it really could happen: Apple really is planning to dump Intel in favour of its own processors for at least some Macs. The move could happen as soon as 2020.
We know that Apple is working on bringing iOS and Mac apps closer together and so the next move would be combining the hardware – however, just as when Apple moved the Mac from PowerPC processors in 2005, the transition took some time and emulation was required for older software.
Almost certainly the new processors would be based on the ARM architecture which is used as the template for virtually every mobile phone processor including those used in the iPhone and iPad. Apple also designs its own processors for those devices, though it gets others, like TSMC or Samsung, to manufacture them.
The story comes from Bloomberg, a credible source of Mac rumours and it even mentions a code name for the program – Kalamata. But it still needs to be taken with a pinch of salt – the performance of Intel chips inside the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and iMac Pro would take some matching and we think it’s very likely that those type of machines would still use Intel chips for the foreseeable future.
For, say, a MacBook replacement then an ARM-based processor isn’t out the question; It’s key facets are portability and battery life and that would suit an ARM-based processor down to the ground.
The move would enable Apple to more closely integrate its own technologies, leading to more flexible development times rather than relying on Intel's roadmap. And it would enable a streamlined development process to take place across all its device types.
The rumour has damaged Intel’s share price which fell yesterday in the US – Apple gear accounts for around five percent of Intel’s annual revenue according to Bloomberg, so that’s a small but valuable chunk of income.
Perhaps we’ll find out a little bit more at Apple’s developer conference in June – WWDC 2018.